Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Unstuck with glue.

I reached another milestone with Coalface last week - I completed the rewrite of the story.  I did what every writer should do at that moment- enjoyed a nice cuppa (sun wasn't quite over the yard-arm), then went back to the start and began look at it again.

That's when I discovered something wasn't right.

It's no big surprise - Coalface is a work in progress; as I learned new things about my young hero in the rewrite (his name is different for a start) I knew there were things that would change again, to make the story work harder, to draw the reader in.  To make them read 'just one more chapter'.

Trouble was, I was too close to see what was wrong.

Cut and paste: Old Skool style.
Computers are amazing- the ability to create and store and organise page after page of information in something that's smaller and lighter than a ream of paper is a marvel - but it's hard to see all of the story at once.

I needed to looked at it a different way.  Change the perspective. I took the story off the screen. 

Using yWriter, I printed the scene list of Coalface (yWriter lets you write in moveable chunks,called 'scenes'), then cut up the bits and spread them across the kitchen table for two days. 
When you have to stick something in place, unsticking it is a lot tougher than hitting Ctrl-Z.  Making it physical stopped me thinking about typing, and focused my thoughts on editing.  Exactly what I needed to do.

After a lot of shuffling and paper glue, I now have a seven foot tall story, that works, stuck on the tallest cupboard door I could find.  I've moved all the elements back inside yWriter with purpose, not apprehension; and now it's time to make Coalface work harder.

If you're in the same position, give it a go - I hope it works for you as well as it worked for me; if you've got a system that's even better, let me know - Book 2 is waiting in the wings after Coalface...

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